The governing right-wing Liberal Party of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has championed a bill in the Australian Parliament that would give Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton the power to issue temporary exclusion orders (TEO) against as many as 230 Australian citizens who left the country to fight for Daesh in Iraq and Syria.
While the bill has provoked controversy due to the possibility that it might be unconstitutional, the opposition Labor Party has indicated that if it fails to return the bill to committee, it will support it, the Australian Broadcasting Company reported Tuesday.
"It is not the job of this Parliament to act as a rubber stamp for Government bills, the Parliament's job is to get legislation right," Shadow Attorney-General and Labor MP Mark Drefyus and said Tuesday.
"There is a very long and a very sorry history of accusations of history or disloyalty being thrown about for base political purposes," Dreyfus said, the Canberra Times reported. “By going down that path, this government is aping a political technique that is being used by some of the worst regimes in history."
A TEO can only be issued against a citizen if they are judged by the home affairs minister, who oversees questions of law enforcement, border protection and immigration, to pose a risk of mounting a terrorist attack in the country. After two years, the individual may apply to return, but that return might come with conditions, such as surrendering one’s passport or being subjected to monitoring by law enforcement, ABC noted.
Andrew Hastie, a Liberal MP who chairs the security and intelligence committee, said in the chamber Tuesday the purpose of the TEO was "to buy us time.”
“The temporary exclusion orders bill is the most effective way of allowing our law enforcement and intelligence agencies to manage the flow of foreign fighters back to Australia,” he said.
"It is true that the global coalition against Islamic State has prevailed militarily in Iraq and Syria, however, to proclaim victory is to call a false dawn. We have struck the shepherd but the sheep are scattering across the globe … and sadly, many are Australians.”
However, Labor has objected that the bill gives the home minister far too much power, being dependent essentially on his opinion, and they have sought to have the TEOs issued by judges instead. A similar law in the United Kingdom, on which this bill is based, operates in such a manner, AFP noted.
Labor’s shadow home affairs minister, Kristina Keneally, told the Australian Associated Press that the opposition would still support the bill if it is found to be "constitutional, keeps Australians safe and that withstands High Court challenges,” AFP noted.